Blog: Outdoor

Oh What a Beautiful Market Day!

Last Saturday, we had the incredible good fortune to have fantastic weather all morning long. The sun was nice and warm and there wasn't a cloud in the sky - it was the perfect market day! We owe a huge THANK YOU to our Farmers' Market community who showed up to support Dine in 519's food drive in support of the London Food Bank and Atlohsa! Farmers' Markets are all about community and we love being a space for people to come together, shop, chat and give back. Thank you again to Dine in 519 for organizing this food drive! Continuing on the theme of community, this Saturday's Farmers' Markets, Friends of the London Public Library will be at the market with a pop-up book sale. They will be selling children's books, adult fiction books and cookbooks, all proceeds support the London Public Library's Literacy programs. This a great opportunity to support our local London community, and to build greater literacy skills in your own home, too! Cookbooks can be an accessible and fun way to engage young children in cooking while growing their food literacy skills. Food literacy can help children and youth become more self-sufficient and empower them to make more nutritious and healthier decisions about food. I would have been much more interested in eating broccoli as a child, if I could have made it myself. Food can act as a catalyst for children to hone their math, science and geography skills! I will definitely be checking out their cookbook selection. I love being able to crack open a new cookbook and exploring all the new and different recipes to make with my market finds!

Canning and Preserving with Chef Katherine!

This past Thursday, our cooking demonstration was led by Chef Katherine Jones from Growing Chefs, where she showed us some of her tips and tricks for capturing the best flavours of summer when preserving. 

Chef Katherine started off the evening teaching us how to make Jalapeno Jelly, with Basil Tea. The perfect temperature for jellies is 220 °F. Even though the recipe may say boil it for 10 minutes, if you take it off the heat when it reaches 220°F you will have the perfect jelly every time! For the Jalapeno Jelly, Chef Katherine suggested using it as a sweetener instead of honey in salad dressings or glazes, and it is always great paired with a slice of cheese! Next, using herbs from Growing Chef’s garden, Chef Katherine made an infused salt. I always have tons of herbs at the end of growing season and never knew the best way to save them. But with an infused salt, the salt preserves the herbs, allowing you to enjoy fresh herbs all year long! Infused salt would be great to use as a rub or in a seasoning! 

Chef Katherine then taught us all about lactofermentation, which is when sugars are broken down by lactobacillus bacteria and transformed into lactic acid. For this, Chef Katherine made lactofermented carrot sticks! The key when preserving using lactofermentation is to keep everything submerged so that you don’t risk exposing your carrots to mould or yeast. You know they’ll be done when the liquid is fizzy!

Lastly, Chef Katherine taught us about pickling, my personal favourite way to preserve, using green beans. Chef Katherine’s tips for the crispiest pickles were to use the freshest ingredients, soak them in a salty water bath ahead of canning and add in grape leaves or tea to add tannins. You might have heard about tannins in the wine world, but they are also naturally occurring in teas, bark and plants and give red wine their astringency or bitter taste.

The one thing that really struck me was how useful preserving can be in reducing my environmental impact.  In Canada, about 58% of all food produced is lost or wasted, with 61% of that waste coming from individual households! Pickling and canning is a great way to save your produce from the bin and enjoy the flavours of summer all year long! Thank you Chef Katherine for sharing so many great tips for preserving food!

Cooking Demonstration this Thursday with Ankita Vaidya

Ankita Vaidya from Simmer and Spice will be leading our cooking demonstration this Thursday at 5pm! She will be teaching us how to make Moroccan chick peas, a Tahini sauce, fresh rolls and lettuce cups. Make sure to look for some local ingredients from our very own Farmers’ Market vendors. As always, Ankita will be offering free samples, which in my opinion are always best paired with a beer from London Brewing Co.!

What to Look for this Weekend!

Cucumber season is slowing down, so make sure to check in with our farmers to get your cukes before the season is up! I love field cucumbers because of their delicious flavour – biting into a fresh field cucumber feels like taking a bite of summer. Try out a new gazpacho recipe or add to a salad… the possibilities are endless!

Orchard Hill will have Ground Cherries again this week! With their papery husks, Ground Cherries look similar to Tomatillos, but are smaller and tend to be sweeter in taste. Their flavour is quite unique. It’s almost a mixture of pineapple, strawberry and green grapes. When eating, make sure to take off the husk. Last year Patricia learned that the hard way by biting into one with the husk on, which is basically like eating a candy with the wrapper still on. Ground cherries are definitely best enjoyed sans husk! Because of their sweeter flavour they are great as a jam, or even substitute them for tomatillos and tomatoes in salsa!

Local London Artists!!

This Thursday, Chris Casserly will be serving up some great tunes from 4 to 7pm! Chris has a simple approach to music… make it fun. ‘If I am having a good time then chances are that those watching are as well’! With a wide range of musical styles and high level of musicianship (he has won 5 Factor Awards for performance and composition) it is ALWAYS a good time with Chris!May be an image of 1 person

Mark Swan and Connor Morand will be performing at this Saturday’s Farmers’ Market from 10am to 1pm. Connor and Mark are a captivating acoustic guitar/drum duo hailing from London, Ontario. They have shared the stage with a number of artists across North America and have been performing together for over two years. Connor’s soaring, lush vocal melodies combined with Mark’s in-the-pocket, rhythmic drum beats will have any audience singing along. Their shows are electric, entertaining and unparalleled with any other artist.

We are also excited to welcome London’s own visual artist Ani Sarian! Ani has been a painter since her childhood in Syria. She attended the Academy in Syria Aleppo and has had many exhibitions there. As a result of the war in Syria, she moved to Lebanon, where she painted for four years before moving to Canada. She has had two exhibitions in City Hall in Toronto and one in London at Aeolian Hall. Since London is the Forest City, she aims to showcase all of London’s natural beauty like trees, wild flowers, and birds, through her art.No photo description available.

Friends of the Library are coming to the Market!

This Saturday from 8am to 1pm, Friends of the London Public Library will be joining us at the Farmers’ Market for their pop-up book sale!

The Friends of the Library has been in existence since 1996. They organize events such as their annual book sales and pop-up sales, author lectures and events such as Jazz for the People. They also operate a permanent book store adjacent to the Central Public Library and they are involved in the Book for Every Child Campaign. Their main purpose is to raise funds for literacy projects that the Library coordinates. Some of these programs include: Summer Read, Outreach, Family Literacy Day, After School Snacks for Homework Clubs  and Book Club in a Bag!

Swing by, say hi and shop for some summer reads!

Nature In Our City - with Glenn Berry

Fishers at the Coves
The Coves is an ESA (Environmentally Significant Area) southwest of the forks of the Thames and North Thames rivers. Here is its online brochure:
Several bird species live in or visit The Coves regularly, making a popular spot for local birders. Birders have reported to over 100 species this year. From the same spot on July 6, I saw three different species of fish-eating birds – Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher and Osprey.
To catch a fish, a Great Blue Heron plunges its head underwater, bill first. Sometimes it stabs the fish and other times, it catches the fish sideways in its bill. Some repositioning is required so the fish can be swallowed head first. Sometimes the fish seems too big to swallow, especially when the heron’s neck is so skinny. To see a heron or other birds in action, visit where there is some stunning slow motion action.

A Belted Kingfisher streaks low over the water and scoops small fish in its bill. Or it sits on a bare branch over the water, waiting to dive after a small fish close the surface. Unless it is delivering the fish to another kingfisher, it quickly repositions the fish head-first in its bill and then swallows it whole.
Finally, a young Osprey appeared hesitant about leaving its perch to catch fish in its talons. While it has learned to fly, it may be still be dependent on an adult to deliver fish. This year in London, 11 pairs of Osprey raised 23 young. Later this year, they will all fly to South America. Nature London’s report on Ospreys has more information:
Given how large a fish an Osprey can catch, and how small its mouth is, an Osprey can’t swallow a fish whole. Instead, it tears the fish apart one mouthful at a time. Osprey parents feed their young small pieces fish until they can feed themselves. Not for the squeamish, this video shows very young Ospreys being fed small pieces of a fish that is delivered at the start of the video. Usually the male catches the fish and starts eating it (not shown in the video) to ensure it is dead and no longer a danger to the young in the nest.

The writer is a novice amateur naturalist who depends on Internet resources and a few field guide books for species identification from photos. iNaturalist is a great place to start:

The first step to becoming a naturalist was to become a birder five years ago. The learning process was accelerated by taking photos and then studying them at home. More experienced birders were always happy to share what they knew. The next step was to turn the camera on butterflies and other large insects.

Corn Cheddar Muffins

With corn in full season, what better way to enjoy it, than with cheese in muffin form! Honestly, everything tastes better in muffin form!

Recipe courtesy of Jill’s Table.

Thursday Vendor List

This is the list, folks! See who you can find at the Farmers’ Market this Thursday, August 19th! Click on their names to find information on pre-orders and to learn more about their farms and businesses!

Check out their websites for more information about their products and to see what’s in season/currently available!

  • Cooking Demonstration: Ankita Vaidya 5pm to 6pm
  • Live Music: Chris Casserly 4pm to 7pm
  • Museum London Walking Tours: 5:30pm to 6:30pm *Sold Out*
  • Beer (including non-alcoholic option): London Brewing Co. 4pm to 7pm
  • Food: London Sandwich Co. 4pm to 7pm

Saturday Vendor List!

This is the list, folks! See who you can find at the Farmers’ Market this Saturday, August 21st! Click on their names to find information on pre-orders and to learn more about their farms and businesses!

Check out their websites for more information about their products and to see what’s in season/currently available!

  • Live Music: 10am to 1pm: Mark Swan and Connor Morand
  • Visual Artist: 10am to 1pm: Ani Sarian
  • Community Event: Friends of the London Public Library pop-up book sale: 8am to 1pm